Giving Compass’ Take:
• Vu Le’s latest Nonprofit AF blog posts identifies various buzzwords and phrases we all drive into the ground at work, with some funny suggestions on what to replace them with.
• How many jargon phrases are you guilty of using? Wouldn’t it be better to be more straightforward? We especially like using “wrestling weasels” instead of “herding cats.”
• If you’re looking to get past the “impact” and “outcomes” jargon into more meaning, click here.
- Herding cats. We all use this one a lot, to describe the tedious wrangling of people. Where does it come from? Let’s cut it out, OK? We are more creative than that. Plus, herding cats sounds kind of cute, when the real-life tasks are usually not. Let’s use wrestling weasels. “This job involves dealing with the membership, so yeah, there’s a lot of weasel wrestling. Some of them are rabid weasels.”
- Sweet spot. Describes an ideal point to be reached in something. This is a boring example of telling and not showing. We need a phrase that actually evokes something. Let’s use molten lava cake. “350 people would be the molten lava cake for our gala.”
- Hit the ground running. I do like the action-oriented image this conjures. However, it’s overused. Replace it with come with a crowbar. “We don’t have time to provide training and coaching. We need to hire someone who comes with a crowbar on evaluation.”
- Flagship program. I admit, I use this one a lot. We all do. Let’s replace it with Dobsonian telescope. Why? Because people just don’t appreciate enough John Dobson’s contributions to astronomy through his design of the altazimuth-mounted Newtonian telescope, that’s why. “We provide a lot of services, but our Dobsonian telescope is Silver Surfers, a surfing program for older adults.” When people ask you what that means, explain to them John Dobson’s contributions to astronomy.
Read the full list of irritating jargon phrases with replacement sayings by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.